When is a Collection Complete

When is a collection complete? It could be as soon as all catalogue number items have been found or when the collector says it is complete. This became an interesting question for me in regard to my New Jersey 1937 1st Flight exhibit. This is a cachet cover collection/exhibit I started when I lived in New Jersey and within the last several years has become my exhibit project.

I have put together a two frame exhibit which I have shown several times and for which I have received consistent Silver awards. I like to think it is a work in progress as I aim to raise it to the Gold level.

One of the comments I make in the judges synopsis and on the title page is that it is a complete presentation of all the cachets and covers prepared for the one day flight around New Jersey. While this was true when the exhibit was prepared it is no longer true.

Enter e-bay. I check the site daily for covers related to the flight. I do see covers related to the flight, but they are covers I already have. I had just about given up hope of finding any new covers when all of a sudden a series of covers have appeared on e-Bay. Of course, I chase after them and for the most part have been successful. What I find amazing is that there is competition for the covers. For a long time I felt I was the only collector of these covers, but I am no longer alone.

However I can still continue my assertion that I have a complete collection – at least as of today.

PS I am always in need of articles. If you have sent an article and I have not published it, send me an e-mail to remind me: sipeditor@gmail.com.

Jewish Astronauts

A few months ago my nephew sent me an interesting e-mail. The subject was Jewish Astronauts in Space. I of course know about the space program and the astronauts, but had never really considered how many might be Jewish. His e-mail included a list, pictures and write-ups for some of the astronauts.

Curious, I did what all good researchers do – I Googled the internet for Jewish astronauts. As expected the search returned a number of sites. The first one I checked was http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Jewish_astronauts. There was a list of 14 astronauts of which 12 were from the United States, 1 each from Russia and Israel. The first Jewish astronaut was from Russia, Boris Volvnov. The first Jewish American was Judith Resnik and the first Israeli was Ilan Ramon. As I was doing my search, I came across the web site Astronaut 01 . As its name suggests, it has interesting facts about some of the astronauts. Some examples from the web site:

In 5755/1985, Jeffrey Hoffman (born 5704/1944 in Brooklyn) took four mezuzahs with him on the Discovery II shuttle mission. Copies of the mezuzah cases have joined the approximately one thousand mezuzah cases on display in the foyer of the “Great Synagogue” in Jerusalem;

Jeffrey Hoffman took a “space Torah” with him during a Columbia shuttle flight, in 5756/1996, and read verses from Bereishis in Hebrew as his spacecraft passed over Jerusalem;

In 5753/1993, astronaut David Wolf boarded a Columbia shuttle flight with fellow Jewish astronaut, Martin Fettman, taking along a shofar and some mezuzahs;

David Wolf lived in the Mir Space Station, from September 5758/1997 until January 5758/1998, he fasted on Yom Kippur although he was not quite certain when to do so as he was experiencing a new sunrise every 90 minutes.

According to the web site:  Astronaut 02

Astronaut Gary Reisman had a cameo appearance on the series final of the TV show Battles at Galactica.

There is some controversy about the Russian astronaut Yuri Gagarin. He is credited as the first man in space and some claim that he was Jewish. Unfortunately, he never told anyone if he was Jewish or not. So the mystery remains.

I found these facts fascinating and wonder how many stamps and covers have been prepared and issued honoring the Jewish astronauts. Also, has anyone made an exhibit of the available material. If yes, please send a note to sipeditor@gmail.com.